The psychology of swimming, according to me!

Its a funny thing, the head, and lately I have only just started to discover how much of a mind game I can actually play with myself. I used to limit myself with my won beliefs, but now all I do is constantly surprise myself!

I was tired and a little unwilling when I got up this morning. I decided to just go ans swim, not put any pressure on myself, and see how I felt.

Usually, today would be my sprint sets day. I decided to keep an open mind, its better not to, than to do it badly.

I did my usual warm up 400m, followed by 400m kick drills (need to keep those non running legs working somewhow!). I then decided to try one 50m sprint, just to see. I gave myself permission NOT to carry on, if it turned out to be rubbish!

Sprint sets consistency

I did the first one, wow. It was 4 seconds faster than last weeks average, and only one second off the average speed I used to be able to achieve when I was competing. oh well, I’ll do another, just see what happens. Same. I managed 5 in a row, all the exact same. Wow.

Moral: don’t set yourself a grand target, take each thing a small step at a time, and praise yourself for the achievement, regardless of how small! 


I decided perhaps I should continue. So I did. I took things one step at a time again. The times remained solid, and all one second faster, each, than the first 5. So, I am clearly improving, and regaining my sprint fitness. Ok, the next level.

set yourself small achievable targets just outside your comfort zone. This is how you make progress


I decided for number 9, to try ‘all out’. Who cares, nothing to lose. result? another second faster than the previous 3. I knew though that I was tired. So I gave myself permission for the last one to be slower. The last one? same time as the first one.


I knew when I started that I would get more tired. So how could I combat that to remai consistent? On the first few, I managed 3 x breaths. I knew I would need to move to two. For the next few, I did the second half in 2 breaths / stroke. I knew that I would get more tired. By the end I was breathing every two from the start.

I also knew that I needed to remember my legs as well. When I felt tired, I focussed even more on form, and kick, to keep the speed up. Form is the first thing you tend to lose when you’re fatigued.

Next step?

To progress from that set I could

  • increase the reps
  • decrease the recovery
  • increase the distance

I think I will, most likely tackle them in that order.



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